If you’re planning on traveling during the holiday season, you may be in for a rough drive. In the midwest especially, road conditions can be extremely dangerous due to severe winter weather. From black ice on the highway to unplowed side-streets, you’ll need to have your wits, your quick reactions, and your driving experience all working for you in order to stay safe!
10 Winter Driving Tips
Winter driving tips are just one more tool in your utility box for staying safe on the roads and keeping everyone else safer around you. Here are ten winter driving tips compiled to give you a pre-winter reminder:
1. Warming Up - Winter driving tips include the car prep, like warming up the vehicle prior to your ride. That way, it’s warm and toasty to travel as soon as you get inside. Just be cautious when starting your car. Never run it in an enclosed garage. Open the garage door to allow the exhaust to exit.
2. Set Cruise to Off - During the winter months whenever the road is wet, avoid cruise control. Your car cannot respond to ice or hydroplaning like you can. And the more in tune you are with how your car is responding, the better you can anticipate slips.
3. Check Your Tires - The cold temperature (and temperature changes) can affect your tire pressure. Make sure they are properly inflated prior to taking any trips.
4. Fill Your Tank - Every time you set out on the road, double-check that you have enough gas. Also, it is best to keep your gas level at least half filled to keep it from being affected by freezing conditions.
5. Read the Weather - Anticipating the weather by reading or watching a weather report is one of the most important winter driving tips. It may look sunny and clear where you start your trek, but it may be a whole other set of conditions at your destination or midway between.
6. Notify Someone - When setting off, let someone know where you are going, the route you are taking, and approximately how long it should take for you to get there. That way, you have somebody watching out for you in case you break down and need help along the way.
7. Create an Emergency Kit - Pack some emergency supplies in your car as one of your precautionary winter driving tips. Include layers for warmth like blankets, gloves, hats, and extra coats. Also include food, water, medication, and a wireless phone charger.
8. Stay With Your Vehicle - In case of your vehicle breaking down, stay with your vehicle. Tie a brightly colored cloth to your antennae to help rescuers find you if need be. Use as little electricity as you must to conserve it.
9. Test Your Brakes - Everyone knows to drive slowly and with caution in the snow or other harsh winter conditions. Another winter driving tip is to test your brakes each time you drive before getting too far from home. See how long and far it takes for your car to slow down, and drive appropriately.
10. Take Hills Smoothly - Avoid accelerating or stopping suddenly as your vehicle climbs a hill. Instead, build up speed before you reach the hill and let the momentum carry you. Decelerate normally on top of the hill as needed.
The Top of the List of Winter Driving Tips
Winter driving can be nerve-wracking and being tense about it increases the odds of an accident. You might overreact out of fear or be slower to respond because your muscles are tight. When you can, switch drivers. Allow someone else to take the wheel for a while so that your muscles can relax and your eyes can unfocus. You might even catch a few Z’s.
In addition, if you are traveling to Minneapolis or St. Paul, consider letting the valet drivers of Unparalleled Parking help take the stress off. Unparalleled Parking serves many major venues and can even be hired for private holiday parties or chauffeur services. If you are in the area and would like a safe, quality valet, let us know! Call Unparalleled Parking for more information at (651) 300-1515.